Accommodating Service & Assistance Animals: What Real Estate Agents Need to Know (AHA384W)

  • Product Format
  • Pre Recorded Webinar
  • Presenter(s)
  • Jo Becker , Mary A. Colon
  • Conference Date
  • Monday, July 30, 2018
  • Aired Time
  • 1:00 pm ET - 12:00 pm CT - 11:00 am MT - 10:00 am PT
  • Length
  • 90 minutes

Learn the Nuances of Accommodating Disability-Related Assistance Animals under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act

According to the HUD’s annual report, the #1 basis for fair housing complaints filed in 2016 was related to disability protections – topping the 2nd highest protected class (race) by over 50%.  Disability accounted for 58% of all complaints, an 8.8% increase since 2012.

Many of these complaints are specific to service and assistance animals, which must be accommodated in housing under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  It’s vital you’re informed about, and maintain compliance with, these federal laws.

Disability-related animals must be accommodated in sales, rentals, condo units, and by homeowners associations. Protect not only yourself, but also help clients understand their rights and responsibilities under federal law. This session with fair housing expert Jo Becker will cover the ins and outs of reasonable accommodations as it relates to assistance animals. 

This session will demystify the differences between service animals, assistance animals, pets, and other critter classifications. Learn about when and how an accommodation request may be made as well as the verification process and who can do the verifying. The session will also discuss what “reasonable” means and the legal reasons for denying along with common mistakes that could land you in legal jeopardy.  You will get a broader understanding of the requirements and a clearer perspective from which to review your own practices, as well as current policies at properties your clients may be buying or selling. Earn a training certificate as part of your training attendance and fulfillment of CEs while learning about vital federal laws in this informative and entertaining session!

Session Objectives

In this session, you will learn about:

  • Definition of disability
  • Trio of disability protections
  • Fundamental principles of disability-related accommodation under the federal Fair Housing Act, including:
    • Residents / prospects’ right to ask (how, when)
    • Your obligation and your rights
    • What’s “reasonable” and legal reasons for denying
    • What you should know about the verification process
  • Assistance animals as an accommodation
  • The differences between “pets,” “service animals,” “assistance animals,” “companion animals,” “emotional support animals,” etc.
  • What’s “reasonable” in terms of disability-aid animals?
  • Practical expectations for disability-related animals
  • Proper etiquette around working animals

Session Highlights

This session will provide answers to the following questions:

  • Who must comply and the differences the FHA and the ADA?
  • How service / assistance animals relate to real estate sales?
  • When a condo or homeowners’ association would need to accommodate your buyer’s disability-aid animal despite a “no pets” policy?
  • Whether or not you need to allow a client’s aid animal to ride in your vehicle between appointments?
  • What you can and can’t disclose to the other party re: your client’s disability and need for the animal?
  • The difference between service animals, assistance animals, and pets, and other critter classifications?
  • Who can make a reasonable accommodation request and when such requests can be made?
  • What the accommodation process is, including verification and legal reasons for denial?
  • Whether or not your rules, procedures, expectations, and personal behavior are likely helping or harming compliance efforts?

Who Should Attend

  • Real estate licensees, agents and brokers
  • Managing and principal brokers / owners
  • Private landlords and professional property managers
  • Property dealers and Principals
  • Venders in complimentary service industries – lending, title and escrow, contractors, legal services, etc.
  • All real estate sales agents and brokers who specialize in the single- and multi-family housing markets

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About the Presenter(s)

Jo Becker Jo Becker is a realtor-turned-fair housing advocate. She was a licensed housing provider for 8 years before working for a statewide fair housing nonprofit for 10 years where she has trained over 10,000 individuals, to consistently rave reviews. Her focus is on training housing providers including property managers, maintenance and service technicians, and private landlords.

Jo has also studied emergency preparedness and disaster response with a focus on animals since 2005. Today her career consists of an unexpected alchemy of public speaking and writing on topics that blend lifelong passions and multiple career experiences. Regardless of topic or audience, Jo's aim is to inform, empower, and inspire with historical and relatable context, understandable concepts, and bottom-line considerations.

Mary A. ColonMary A. Colon has been a Senior Compliance Analyst at U.S. Housing Consultants since 2009 and is well versed on various HUD and LIHTC issues. Her consulting responsibilities include but are not limited to: EIV and Reasonable Accommodations training and consulting, Contract Rent Renewal processing, assistance in creating and modifying Tenant Selection Plans and Policies and Procedures, and both on-site and off-site file audits for both HUD and LIHTC properties. From 2002 to 2009, Ms. Colon was Assistant Compliance Manager for HUD properties at a property management company. Mary continues her education in the ever changing landscape of affordable housing. She is a Certified Occupancy Specialist (C.O.S), Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO) and a Certified Tax Credit Specialist C5P.


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